Recipe for Making Things Happen; RUTHIN: Patchwork Traditional Foods Grows from Pounds 9 Start to Business with Pounds 1.5m Turnover
Byline: DARREN DEVINE
PATCHWORK Traditional Foods has grown from a onewoman operation selling pt to local public houses into a company with a pounds 1.5m turnover and an international reputation to match.
The owner of the company, Margaret Carter, from Ruthin, was forced by her divorce about 19 years ago to look for a way to support herself and her three young children.
With a start-up cost of pounds 9, saved from the housekeeping, she began selling pt to pubs in nearby Llangollen.
``To begin with it was purely a way of earning money, a means of survival, but I've had about four businesses so I've done a lot,'' she said.
``I had a knitwear business before so it could have been widgets; it could have been any-thing. It just so happens that I chose for it to be food that time around.''
Mrs Carter's pork and sage pt with vermouth and her lamb and leek pt have won top trade awards.
She also exports, most notably to pt-loving Belgium, as well as having some big-name clients such as Fortnum and Mason and the Prince of Wales's company Duchy Originals, which sells organic and natural foods. Her products are known for their strong, distinctive flavour compared with the bland and often flavourless pt to be found on many supermarket counters.
Despite the larger scale on which the business now operates, with 30 people employed at its factory in Ruthin, everything is still hand-made in small batches. All the produce is prepared without artificial colouring, additives or preservatives, to Mrs Carter's original recipes.
Oranges are freshly grated and squeezed each time they are used in the award-winning chicken liver, cointreau and orange pt. If there are a dozen quiches in a batch there will be a dozen mixing bowls lined up alongside a dozen balls of pastry and indi-vidually weighed ingredients. …